Medical schools help tackle class ceiling on professional careers

Medical schools can help more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds break through a 'class ceiling' to the professions highlighted in a new report.

More needs to be done to help thousands of underprivileged students who face a 'lost opportunity' because they cannot access top jobs in professional areas including law, finance, medicine, journalism and politics, the report on an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility says.

The report, ‘The “class ceiling”: Increasing access to the leading professions’, calls for universities to take prospective students’ backgrounds into account in medical school admissions, and build on innovative medical foundation year schemes that aim to widen access to courses dominated by privately educated and wealthier students.

Professor Philip Baker (pictured), Dean of Medicine and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology. said: “As the report notes, universities are beginning to realise they must be more proactive and innovative in their approach to medical school admissions if they are to recruit talented students from a wider social spectrum."

Leicester’s Medical School is offering scholarships worth £9,000 to students joining a new Foundation Year in September that is designed to attract more students from state schools and lower socio-economic groups.

Students who pass the Foundation course and either choose to continue studying medicine or another related course will qualify for a further £2,000 a year scholarship funding for the rest of their degree. It means those that complete the Foundation Year and a medical degree could receive scholarships worth up to a total of £19,000.

Welcoming the report, Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of our University, said: “Leicester is committed to widening access to higher education and providing opportunities for talented young people who might otherwise not consider medicine as a career. In time we also expect that the Leicester programme will provide a boost to local healthcare provision.”